‘It fuelled a fire in me’ – Naomi Osaka reveals exciting news ahead of the 2024 season

Naomi Osaka in action Credit: Alamy
Naomi Osaka in action Credit: Alamy

Naomi Osaka’s presence has been missed on the WTA Tour over the last year, but her fans got the news they were waiting for as she made an appearance at the US Open. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka has not played a match on the main tour since last September and gave birth to her first child with boyfriend Cordae in June.

Yet Osaka’s time away from the court appears to have whetted her appetite for a return to the court and she has told ESPN that she is planning to be back in time to play in the Australian Open in January.

Then she is open to a full schedule for the rest of 2024, which could include more tournaments than at any point in her career.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play so I think some people will be happy with that,” declared Osaka, as she looked forward to her return in 2024 whole attending the US Open in New York.

When asked whether she plans to play at the Australian Open in January, she offered a positive response of ‘yes’.

She went on to explain why she is planning a more complete schedule in 2024, as it seems she has missed the game during her time away.

“Honestly, I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go and my level of play,” she said.

“At the very least, I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.

“I’ve been watching matches and I kinda wish I was playing too.

“I’m in this position now and I love my daughter, but (being away from tennis) fuelled a fire in me.”

Osaka also spoke about Coco Gauff’s form at the US Open, as she made it through to the semi-finals in her home Grand Slam.

“I’m always really proud of everything she does,” added Osaka.

“She seems like such a good person. Everything she’s doing & speaking out about so many different topics.

“It’s something I’d love to have my kid to look up to as a role model.

“Seeing her doing well in her home Grand Slam is really cool. I cheer for her every match she plays.”

Osaka’s return will be a huge boost for the women’s game as she will return as one of the most recognisable names in the game.

She has spoken openly about her struggles with her mental health, yet she is one of the biggest stars in tennis and will have a chance to get back in the mix at the top of the game if he motivation as been revived by her absence.

Caroline Wozniacki’s stunning return to tennis after having two babies could provide a blueprint for Osaka’s return, with the Dane’s run to the fourth round at the US Open evidence that she is still a force at the top of women’s tennis.

Now Osaka is set to make her comeback and with Britain’s Emma Raducanu also on the comeback trail, the women’s game could be in for some big-name comebacks over the next few months.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic on Coco Gauff’s US Open dream as Brad Gilbert speaks out

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